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Nebrasketball: Illinois Preview

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Can this 2-5 squad pull off an upset against the Big Red?

NCAA Basketball: Gonzaga at Illinois Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois Illini Preview

Date: Sunday, December 2nd

Time: 4:00pm CST

Location: Lincoln, NE

TV: BTN

2017-18 Record: 14-18 (4-14 Big Ten Conference)

2018-19 Record: 2-5 (0-0 Conference)

Coach: Brad Underwood (2nd Season)

Previous Season

Illinois ended the 2017-18 season in 11th place in the conference with Minnesota and Iowa. They were 14-18 (4-14) with the only conference wins over Indiana, Nebraska, and twice against Rutgers. Their season ended against Iowa in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. It was a rough run for coach Brad Underwood’s first season at the helm of this historic basketball squad.

Current Season

The current season has been started out difficult for the Illini. They are sitting 2-5 with their only wins against Evansville and Mississippi Valley State. The latter they shared with Nebraska for an early season opponent.

It’s important to note that all five of those losses were to fairly tough competition. Playing Xavier, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Gonzaga, and Iowa State would push any team this early on in the year. Let alone a team that is in the process of rebuilding. Only Xavier has more than one loss out of those squads.

They are lead by Trent Frazier at guard. He sits at 6’1” with 15.7 points and 3.3 assists per game. He had a season high of 29 points agains a then #3 and now #1 Gonzaga back in mid November. He will be the biggest scoring threat against the Huskers and will need to be shut down early.

Another name to know that will give the Huskers headaches is Ayo Dosunmu. The 6’5” guard is a true freshman who has come in and thrust his presence on the court right away. He averages 13.6 points, 5 rebounds, and 3.3 points per game. He is shooting 48% from the floor and a very nice 52% from beyond the arch.

Also of note is is Aaron Jordan. He has done well in his senior season with 12 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 2 assists per game. He is another 6’5” guard that should give the Husker defense all afternoon long.

Prediction

Illinois is a better team than their schedule gives them credit for. Coach Underwood is quietly putting together a team that should bring the Illini back into the fold with the other top Big Ten basketball squads. I like their defense which will make the Huskers guard the ball closely. However, I do no think that will be enough. Their ability to foul and struggle scoring will put the Illini into a tough place as the game goes on. In the end, it will be Nebraska adding another win onto their belts.

University of Nebraska 71 University of Illinois 67